GREENVILLE, N.C. – In the first home match since Feb. 29, 2020, the East Carolina women’s tennis team dominated singles play to defeat Appalachian State 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.

“Rough start in the doubles, but what a comeback!” said head coach Kirstin Burgess. “Every singles match was competitive and the girls really dug in on every court. That was truly the definition of a team in with players contributing in every spot, including bringing energy from the bench.”

ECU improves to 1-1 on the young season while App State drops to 0-2. It is the first home victory for Burgess, who saw her squad beat UNCW on the road on March 6, 2020 when Burgess was interim head coach.

It was App State who took an early lead thanks to strong doubles play from the Mountaineers. Helena Jansen and Ellie Murphy swept Alisha Hussain and Sofia Cerezo Holgado 6-0 on court one and then Erika Dodridge and Virginia Poggi beat Alisa Diercksen and Martina Muzzolon 6-2 on court two. The Pirates got some momentum when Anne Lou Champion and Isabella Rivera Ortiz beat Olwyn Ryan-Bovey and Brooke Gruber 6-2 on court three.

Down 1-0 heading into singles play, the Pirates quickly rallied. Muzzolon, playing on the top court for the second straight match, topped Jansen 6-4, 6-3 for the first dual match victory of her young career. Like Muzzolon, Hussain cruised through the first set, but App State’s Dodridge put up a tough fight in the second. Hussain eventually prevailed in a tiebreaker to take the match on court two 6-4, 7-6 (3).

The match on court three was the tightest of the day. Sofia Cerezo Holgado took the first set 6-3, but App’s Poggi bounced back to take the second set 6-2. Neither player could create any separation in the third set and it all came down to a tiebreaker. There, Holgado was the aggressor and she closed out Poggi for her first win as a Pirate, finishing the match with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2) victory.

Leading 3-1 as the final three matches got underway, ECU needed just one more point to clinch the victory. Anne Lou Champion and Isabella Rivera Ortiz each won their opening set to put themselves a set away from the clinching point. It was Champion who got there first, topping Brooke Gruber 6-2, 6-1 on court six to clinch the first win of the year.

“I am so proud of the ladies and I cannot express how grateful I am for the crowd we had today,” Burgess said. “It had to be a record attendance.”

The Pirates will have a quick turnaround as they head to No. 6 NC State on Sunday evening. That match will get started at 6 p.m., at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.

Singles Results
Martina Muzzolon (ECU) def. Helena Jansen (App) 6-4, 6-3
Alisha Hussain (ECU) def. Erika Dodridge (App) 6-4, 7-6 (3)
Sofia Cerezo Holgado (ECU) def. Virginia Poggi (App) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2)
Alisa Diercksen (ECU) vs. Ellie Murphy (App) 6-7, 4-4, unfinished
Isabella Rivera Ortiz (ECU) vs. Olwyn Ryan-Bovey (App) 6-4, 4-6, unfinished
Anne Lou Champion (ECU) def. Brooke Gruber (App) 6-2, 6-1
Order of Finish: 1,2,3,6

Doubles Results
Helena Jansen & Ellie Murphy (App) def. Alisha Hussain & Sofia Cerezo Holgado (ECU) 6-0
Erika Dodridge & Virginia Poggi (App) def. Alisa Diercksen & Martina Muzzolon (ECU) 6-2
Anne Lou Champion & Isabella Rivera Ortiz (ECU) def. Olwyn Ryan-Bovey & Brooke Gruber (App) 6-2
ECU: 1-1; App State (0-2)